Monday, 19 December 2011

Introducing A Horse Called Trouble

I'm delighted to welcome C.K. Volnek back to Flights of Imagination with her brand new tween book, A Horse Called Trouble. I loved C.K.'s first tween book, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, and know we are in for a good read.

Thank you for joining us today, C K. Before we begin, please tell our readers where they can find you.

Greetings, Ros. Thanks for allowing me to visit your blog today. It is such a treat to be able to visit. I’m so excited to be here to announce my newest tween novel, A Horse Called Trouble! I would also love to offer a FREE copy of my e-book to one lucky reader who leaves me a comment! (I hope you love free stuff as much as I do.)

Readers can contact me at ckvolnek(at)yahoo(dot)com.
They can also join me on my web page, or visit me at my blog
I am on Facebook (C.K. Volnek) or Twitter (CKVolnek), as well as Good Reads and Jacket Flap.

Please tell everyone a bit about your book including buy links.

My newest book, A Horse Called Trouble, just made its debut and is available in both e-book and print.

A Horse Called Trouble

Abandoned by her mother at a young age, Tara Cummings has been passed from foster home to foster home; not wanted anywhere by anyone. At thirteen she’s skeptic and suspicious, with no family, and no friends.

Horse therapy “will teach trust, perseverance, respect, and the value of teamwork,” or so says the program’s instructor. Tara is unconvinced. Trust only broke her heart, perseverance meant more failures, and no one respects or wants to team up with the misfit foster kid. 

At the farm, Tara meets Trouble, an angry and defiant horse, bent on destroying everything and everyone around him. Tara is frightened of the enraged horse, until she realizes Trouble is as misunderstood and untrusting as she is. Pushing aside her fear, a special bond is formed, much to the surprise of everyone at the farm. Trouble trusts Tara, and Tara in turn finds hope and acceptance as well as the will to love and trust again herself.

But, Tara’s confidence is shaken as an even greater challenge looms ahead. Trouble’s mean and manipulative owner is the one and only Alissa, Tara’s nemesis. Can Tara overcome her own limitations and fight to save the horse who freed her heart and gave her life value and meaning? Or will Alissa destroy them both? 

A Horse Called Trouble can be found at the MuseItUp Bookstore, at Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK)  As well as other great on-line bookstores.

I’m also happy to have my tween ghost story, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island available in both print and e-book.

Where did the concept for the book come about?

I have always loved horses. Such marvelous creatures they are. Proud, elegant, powerful yet gentle, compassionate. And I was fortunate enough to be able to call several of them my friend and confidant as I grew up.

I knew I wanted to immortalize some of my treasured equine friends but I never expected to write the story of Trouble in such a fashion as I did. It was after visiting a horse farm that also entertained a horse therapy program for troubled youth that the story sky-rocketed. Tara came to life and shared her entire sad story with me and I couldn’t help but oblige and put it down on paper. And Trouble? He’s a mix of several of the horses I knew. Full of spunk, spirit, trust and devotion. It’s a horse story, full of conflict, with antagonists you’ll love seeing get what they deserve.

You mention horse therapy in this story. How did you research this?
Researching this type of Horse Therapy program was really interesting. I was fortunate to be able to spend time at Take Flight Farm and witness their Horse Therapy program for troubled youths first hand. It’s incredible what they do, utilizing the magnificent horses to teach kids the value of respect, teamwork and trust. I know from personal experience how a horse can turn an irritable, scowling teenager into a calm, caring softie. Horses can also build a person’s confidence…and who can’t use a good dose of self-confidence?
What message do you hope readers will take away from A Horse Called Trouble?
After reading my story, I hope my readers will understand the importance of believing in and standing up for oneself as well as following your dreams. Don’t let the traps of society rule you. You may only be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.
I also hope my readers learn to not judge others before they really get to know them. Too many times, society seems to judge a person for what they have or have not and not for who they are. I hope my readers will understand this and give everyone a chance before hastily judging them.
How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

The story of Trouble spilled out in less than six month, but it took over a year before I had a manuscript I was ready to shop around. I am lucky to have a very thorough critique group. That is a must for any author.

Do you have any new projects that you are working on?

In April, The Secret of the Stones will make its debut. It is the first of a series called The Lost Diaries of Northumberland. It is a lighter story, a Harry Potter meets Merlin the Magician kind of story. A Merlin-loving tween is thrust into magic mayhem when the gift he’s been entrusted to protect turns out to be the enchanted object detailed in a mysterious prophecy.
If you'd like to add anything, please do so.

I would love to offer a free prize to one lucky reader who leaves me a comment. I’m offering a FREE e-copy of A Horse Called Trouble as an early Christmas present!

How about an excerpt to tantalize the readers?

A Horse Called Trouble
The massive barn towered up, into the Midwest sky, a prison of whitewashed boards, sunlight glinting off it. Might as well be barbed wire. Tara Cummings blinked, momentarily blinded.
So this was her punishment—horse therapy?
She shook her head, letting her mousy brown hair fall over her face. Another time she would have been thrilled to be here, to see a real horse, to actually touch one, not watch it on TV or the internet.
Her fingers tightened into a fist. This time was different. This was a sentence of shame—for something she hadn’t even done. She didn’t steal Alissa’s purse!
Tara struggled to swallow the lump in her throat, the dryness in her mouth refusing to release the knot. Alissa had set her up—she was sure of it. She’d planted the purse in her locker. Why? What had she ever done? Because she wasn’t cool…or popular…or wear designer clothes? Because she was a foster kid?
Resentment and desire burned as one in her chest. She’d never have money or popularity. She’d been born a have-not and the world was making sure she would always stay a have-not.
A cool morning breeze blew across the farmyard, cold fingers reminding the world that despite the sun and the absence of snow, it was only early spring and summer was still a long way off. Tara shivered and withdrew into her shabby sweatshirt, wrapping her skinny arms up in its scratchy fabric. She should have tried harder to prove her innocence to Principal Jackman. Should’ve made him listen.
A long breath whistled through her teeth. It wouldn’t have made any difference. He wanted to be rid of her, like everyone else in her life. Teachers, foster parents, her own mother. All too happy to wash their hands and dump her onto someone else. No one cared. Why would Jackman be any different? He couldn’t wait to ship her off to Marvel’s, the east side’s alternative to regular school. Marvel was, after all, the best place to dump all the 8th grade scum no one wanted.
Tara gazed from the barn to the crisp, white fences and luscious green pastures surrounding them. Marvel was known for its unusual methods in dealing with problem students. But she had totally not expected this. It had to be some kind of mistake. The other kids had moaned and groaned, certain they were headed for a work-camp, cleaning up horse crap, hauling hay, painting, and all that stuff. Listening to them, Tara had envisioned smelly, peeling barns, and broken-down fences. This was quite the opposite. The farm was actually quite tidy. Nice. Peaceful. Not the kind of place she’d expected juvies to be sent to at all.
Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
 A leaf rustled on the path in front of her, its dry brown contrasting against the spring-green grass. It twirled and danced on the gust of wind making its way from the barn toward Tara…along with the horrible stink. She pressed a ragged sleeve to her nose. Eww! It was everywhere. Like a subway toilet that hadn’t been flushed in weeks.
Who had she been kidding? This wasn’t some nursery rhyme Old McDonald’s Farm. This was a place to be disciplined and chastised. She pressed her sleeve hard against her nose. Her classmates were right—they just wanted to make them clean up the stinky horse crap.
A horse screamed. A flock of sparrows took flight from the tree next to the barn, swirling into the air, a dark cloud of feathers chattering their irritation. Tara searched for the animal and jumped as it screamed again.
“Whoa,” a man’s voice bellowed from inside the gaping doorway. “Blast it, I said, whoa!
A short, thick-necked man stumbled out, heels digging into the hard dirt as he fought to hold onto the red horse dancing in circles around him. He clung to the thick reins with one hand and pulled a leather whip from his rear pocket with the other, snapping it at the horse with a loud crack.
The horse laid his ears flat, flashed a mouthful of large teeth and dove at his captor, hatred sparking in his eyes. Stumbling backward, the man let loose of the reins, surprise and fear flooding his face.
Tara gasped, a small, barely audible squeak coming from her mouth.
The horse spun around to face her, ears swiveling, black hooves stamping and pawing at the ground. Rage flared his black nostrils.
Tara froze, a scream stuck in her throat, staring wide-eyed at the red horse.
“Get back, Miss,” a voice ordered from behind her. Rough hands shoved her to the side of the path and a dark-haired man rushed forward, grabbing at the horse’s reins. The horse reared, lashing out, black mane rippling like a nest of angry snakes. The dark-haired man held on.
The horse blared again, his eyes wild, white rings surrounding the black.
Tara backed away as quick as she could, unable to take her eyes off the crazed horse. Her heart pounded in her ears. She wanted to get away. She needed to get away from this wild animal. Staring into the horse’s eyes, she couldn’t move. There was something…something in his eyes. She understood his look of pain.

Thanks for having me today!
C.K. Volnek
Sounds like a wonderful book, C.K. and I can't wait to read it! Thanks a lot for offering a free book to one lucky reader.

C.K. Volnek grew up in Nebraska, enjoying life in small town USA; riding horses in summer and sledding the ginormous hills in winter. She is married to her best friend and together they have three children and four Papillon fur-kids. She loves to write, hike, watch movies and dream about the ‘what ifs’ in life, thus spawning the many stories her muse wants to share. She has had several articles published in children’s magazines, Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul and other various publications. Her debut tween novel, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, was released in September and her third book is coming soon.


  1. Hi Ros,
    Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog today. You're so gracious. I can't wait for your book, Summer of the Eagles to come out. It sounds like a Great read. Thanks again.
    C.K. Volnek

  2. I am going to try to send this link to Sarah, my 15 year old granddaughter. She loves horses and it is her birthday in January so I'm more than willing to buy her this book.

  3. You're very welcome, Charlie!

    Hi Gwen - that's great. I'm sure your granddaughter would love this book!

  4. Hi Gwen. Thanks for stopping by. How wonderful of you to be thinking of your granddaughter! Girls and horses make a great pair. :-)
    C.K. Volnek

  5. Great story needs to be heard by many children.

  6. Thanks for your comment, Kay - I agree!